Autobiography and recollections of incidents connected with horticultural affairs, etc., from 1807 up to this day 1892, with portrait and allegorical figures, with an appendix of retrospective incidents omitted or forgotten

By: Menand, L.

Price: £75.00

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Good


Illustrated with a frontispiece, an allegorical plate ad a facsimile letter from Victor Hugo, small octavo, pp xii, 200, (11), rather age-toned but otherwise very clean and tight, original maroon pebble cloth, slightly worn and rubbed. SCARCE. [The title is about as direct as the rest of the book. The ramblings of this "crazy Frenchman at Albany" shed very little light on the actual events of his life but give an incredible sense of the energetic character of Louis Menand. There are exuberant paeans to his wife Adelaide (whom he calls "Phanerogyne," meaning "remarkable woman," who died in 1890. There are rambling thoughts on the various revolutions and republics in France, a scathing appraisal of his arrival in a free land "where slavery was flourishing as carnations," and tales of intrigues at flower exhibitions, all told in the least linear style imaginable. He was the son of a gardener in Burgundy, France. As early as he could remember, he was fascinated by horticulture. "I was eight or nine years old," he later wrote, "when I began to try to grow plants from cuttings. I have always been fond of cutting, properly or figuratively speaking, except cutting my fingers." Eventually Louis became an estate gardener in Paris and later in the Champagne region. In 1837 he came to New York and went to work at nurseries in Halett's Cove, which would later become Astoria. There he met a young piano teacher from Albany named Adelaide Jackson. They fell in love and were married in her family home on Park Place in Albany, and soon took up residence in what they called "the haunted house" on the Albany-Troy Road (Broadway). Louis began selling plants. After a rough first year ("more than modest, that is to say meagre, I might say miserable!!"), things began to pick up. Menand had a fair collection of "hardy perennial plants," which had become pretty popular in the Albany/Troy area. Later he sold Norway spruces, balsam firs and other popular trees and shrubs. In 1847 he was able to buy several acres of land on what is now Menand Road, where Ganser-Smith Park is now located, for his greenhouses and nursery. He cultivated plants that, no doubt, had never before been seen in this old Dutch town -- camellias, palm ferns, cacti, and orchids, among others. He was noted for importing exotic plants from Europe, and commanded an impressive price for his best camellias: "a little plant four inches high would sell for $25." Menand won significant awards for his plants through the years, and continued to grow. He bought 31 acres near the entrance to Albany Rural Cemetery, where he set up his son with a half dozen hot houses devoted to growing cut flowers, roses, carnations, pansies, geraniums and "an almost endless variety of other species suitable for cemetery decoration." These included all manner of shrubs, which no doubt still influence the scenery in the cemetery. His greenhouses were so popular that the Albany and Northern Railroad added a stop there in 1856, named "Menand's Crossing," which the succeeding Delaware and Hudson Railroad renamed "Menand's Station." ]

Title: Autobiography and recollections of incidents connected with horticultural affairs, etc., from 1807 up to this day 1892, with portrait and allegorical figures, with an appendix of retrospective incidents omitted or forgotten

Author Name: Menand, L.

Categories: Biography, Garden History,

Edition: First Edition

Publisher: Albany, New York, Weed, Parsons & Company: 1892

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 016586

Keywords: history.america.horticulture.gardening.nurserymen.